Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spaghetti ai Carcofi

Spaghetti with Artichokes

A simple artichoke-cream sauce that can be prepared in the time it takes to boil the pasta!

1 package frozen artichoke hearts (or 2-3 artichokes already cooked)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP fresh parsley, minced
pinch oregano
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated parmigiano cheese

In a saucepan, saute the garlic in olive oil until golden.  Add the artichoke hearts, parsley, salt and pepper and a sprinkle of oregano.  Saute a few minutes, then splash in the wine.  Cover and let cook about 3 minutes.  Stir in the cream; when it's heated, add the cheese.  Stir and simmer on low until the spaghetti is cooked al dente.

Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce.  Dust with parmigiano and a sprinkle of freshly-ground pepper.

Monday, November 12, 2012


I know the sound of crickets has been deafening around here lately.  But lest you think I've given up cooking (and blogging) altogether, I refer you to a great recipe that I posted over at Summer in Italy.  If you aren't already familiar with them, the fine folks offer fanastic vacation rental properties around Italy, with a particular focus on the Amalfi Coast and Cilento Coast.  The travel guide part of their Web site also serves up regional recipes and tons of helpful travel information, so it's well worth a look!

Arancini di Riso - special and tasty fried balls of rice that are especially popular around Napoli!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pollo Porchettato

Chicken cooked like porchetta
Anyone who has traveled to Italy has surely seen porchetta, the young pig stuffed with herbs and roasted.  It's very tender and flavorful, and proffered at market stalls over the peninsula, but particularly in the central regions.

I'm not about to get myself a whole hog and try the procedure at home, but an easy way is to use pork roast or chicken breast and pretend it's porchetta!  Simple enough to prepare anytime you don't really feel like cooking, but nice enough to serve to guests, too.

1 whole chicken breast, split
Slices of pancetta or bacon
garlic, minced
salt and pepper
peperoncino flakes, if desired
white wine

Butterfly the chicken breasts.  Drizzle on olive oil, then rub in the herbs.  Close the breasts, and wrap in pancetta.  Secure with toothpicks or tie with kitchen string.  Place in a baking dish; drizzle on a little white wine.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, adding a little wine if needed to keep it from drying out, turning the breasts a couple of times.  Let the wine nearly evaporate for the pancetta to brown.  Slice and serve.
Serves 4 or 5.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Patate e Peperoni

Potatoes and Peppers

I've been the ready recipient of nature's bounty all summer:  fruit as it ripens, eggs from the hens, fagiolini (string beans), and more zucchini than a girl knows what to do with.  I've also been given sacks of peperoni, the local variety is friggetelli, which are slender, pointy peppers rather than bell-shaped.  They're sweeter and thinner.  My neighbor recited this easy recipe to utilize them.  It's good with a bit of "piccante," as they call peperoncino in these parts.

Adjust it depending on how many people you're serving:

A few potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced in half
about 10 peppers (cut off the stems, wash, and slice)
salt and pepper
peperoncino (chile flakes or chile oil)
pinch of oregano

Boil the potatoes for about 8 minutes to partially cook them.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat some olive oil and add the garlic.  When it starts to brown, remove the cloves and discard.  Add the pepper slices and saute over medium heat until they become soft.  Add the potatoes and remaining ingredients along with about a half-cup of water.  Cover and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring now and then and adding more water if needed to keep it from drying out.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Grazie, Artusi

While Italy's celebration of unification was rather lackluster, something the whole nation can get behind is the 100th anniversary of Artusi.  Every household has a copy of the book that brought the country together more surely than politics or paper-signings every could.  The legendary cookbook author served up a collection of recipes that spanned the peninsula, the first of its kind.

I'm an Artusi devotee, so in honor of this anniversary I'm offering one of my favorite Artusi recipes.  Enjoy!

Here it is, in Artusi's words (as translated by Kyle Phillips):

Pollo alla Marengo

On the eve of the battle of Marengo, Napoleon's cook was unable to find the chuck wagons in the confusion and was forced to improvise, using stolen hens.  The dish became known as chicken Marengo, and it's said that Napoleon always enjoyed it, less for itself than because it reminded him of a glorious victory.

Chop a young chicken into pieces.  Saute it with 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 of oil, seasoning it with salt and pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.  Once the pieces are browned on all sides, drain off the fat, dust the meat with a level tablespoon of flour, and sprinkle it with 1/2 cup of dry white wine.  Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of broth over the chicken to keep it from drying out, cover it, and simmer it until done.  Before serving, sprinkle it with minced parsley and squeeze half a lemon over it.  This is an appetizing dish.

Buy the Artusi from Amazon:

Try this other Artusi recipe from my archivesMaccheroni alla Napoletana

Monday, March 14, 2011

in Solidarity: Salmon Teriyaki

Since the tsunami struck I've been horrified and saddened by the images from Japan.  We await news of friends, praying they're safe.  I wonder about the beautiful and adventurous ladies who visited our village a few months ago, eager to see our mountain towns and participate in cooking classes.  My neighbor opened his wine cellar to them and I translated from Italian to English (which was then translated to Japanese) as Peppe explained the principles of his organic, home-made vino.  Their sweet smiles come into my mind and I just wonder...

There are many avenues for assistance, as this article on Huffington Post points out. 

Today I'm giving you a recipe a world away from Italy, but close to my heart.  It comes from a friend who owned a Japanese restaurant in New Mexico.  Enjoy, and do consider contributing to the relief efforts.

Salmon Teriyaki

1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
dash of red pepper flakes
2 TBSP light oil

Combine all in a saucepan and cook until reduced by half and thickened.  Reserve half the sauce; use the other half to brush on the salmon filets while grilling.  Drizzle the reserved sauce over the cooked salmon, and serve with hot, steamed rice.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Beans and Greens

My grandpa likes to make a version of this down-home dish with a long-simmered ham hock with which the dry beans cook for hours.  It's rich - and fatty, and takes a lot of time.  I prefer the little lighter version they make here in Italia, using just a little bit of pancetta and a jar of beans.  There is just enough pancetta to add flavor.  It's done in about ten minutes, and it can be a main dish or an accompaniment.  Grandpa uses collard greens, but I prefer the fresh, tender spinach.

Cannellini e Spinaci

Extra virgin olive oil
1-2 TBSP pancetta, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
about 1/2 pound spinach, cleaned
1 can cannellini beans, drained
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
dash red chile flakes

Drizzle some olive oil in a saucepan or deep skillet that is large enough to hold all the spinach.  Add the pancetta and saute until starting to brown, then add the garlic.  When the garlic starts to color, add the spinach and mix well.  Saute and toss to get the spinach to start to wilt.  Add the wine, cover, and simmer about 5 minutes. Uncover; add the seasonings and the beans, and cook about 5 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature.